The trucking industry focuses a great deal of attention on preventing large truck crashes and workplace injuries, but what about preventable turnover? The shortage of drivers entering the occupation and the fact that an aging workforce is leaving are problems motor carriers must contend with. However, these staffing issues are not to be confused with the causes of driver turnover. Turnover occurs when an employee driver or contractor leaves the company voluntarily or is forced to leave. According to HR Drive, “75% of the causes of employee turnover are preventable.”¹ Whatever the reason for the turnover, there’s a good chance it could have been prevented.
To solve its driver turnover problem, motor carriers must start by taking a long look in the mirror. Introspection into the company’s leadership, culture, and operations is always a healthy activity, but in this case, it may provide the answers needed to solve the company’s driver turnover problem. Here are some questions to ask yourself and the organization:
ARE THE RIGHT PEOPLE BEING HIRED?
Even in trying times like these, motor carriers must stick to their hiring and retention standards and avoid bringing a driver on board just to fill an empty seat. Establishing driver hiring and retention standards - years of driving experience; employment history; and the number of crashes, moving violations, and roadside inspections - are just a few means employers use to define the ideal driver. More importantly, these standards help recruiters identify warning signs in an applicant’s work history and background, such as habitual job hopping, lack of professionalism, and unsafe behaviors, that could come back later to haunt the carrier.
CAN WORK CONDITIONS BE IMPROVED?
Some drivers may leave because they believe the grass is greener at another company, but higher pay is usually not the cause of driver turnover. The culprit could be your company’s culture and work environment. Companies often struggle to help drivers balance their home time and potential earnings. Some drivers prefer to drive more to earn more, while others choose to drive less so they can spend more time at home with family. Each driver is different, so it becomes imperative that senior management gauge driver satisfaction to identify problem areas before drivers start looking for a change. Consider means to seek driver input. Whether or not changes can be made, responding to feedback in a timely manner shows drivers their concerns are being heard.
IS SENIOR MANAGEMENT ACTIVELY ENGAGING EMPLOYEES (OFTEN)?
According to Gallup, “About 70% of Americans are disengaged at work.”² This lack of engagement costs employers greatly through decreased production, diminished quality, and you guessed it, higher turnover. Lack of engagement is due in large part to a lack of confidence in the company’s senior leadership. In fact, “Employees with a high confidence level in their company’s senior leadership are five times as likely to remain with their employer more than two years compared to employees with no confidence.”³ For a motor carrier’s senior leadership, intentionally engaging drivers to discuss issues and being more visible are ways to boost employee confidence and morale, which can in turn positively affect retention rates. Remember this: the cost of retaining good drivers pays for itself.
CALL TO ACTION
- Develop a written hiring and retention standard for drivers.
- Seek driver input on policies and procedures to improve working conditions.
- Distribute a driver satisfaction survey to drivers and respond to their concerns.
- Create a driver retention strategy to address dissatisfied drivers at the first sign of serious problems.
Note: These lists are not intended to be all-inclusive.
The information in this article is provided as a courtesy of Great West Casualty Company and is part of the Value-Driven® Company program. Value-Driven Company was created to help educate and inform insureds so they can make better decisions, build a culture that values safety, and manage risk more effectively. To see what additional resources Great West Casualty Company can provide for its insureds, please contact your safety representative, or click below to find an agent.
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This material is intended to be a broad overview of the subject matter and is provided for informational purposes only. Great West Casualty Company does not provide legal advice to its insureds, nor does it advise insureds on employment-related issues. Therefore, the subject matter is not intended to serve as legal or employment advice for any issue(s) that may arise in the operations of its insureds. Legal advice should always be sought from the insured’s legal counsel. Great West Casualty Company shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss, action, or inaction alleged to be caused directly or indirectly as a result of the information contained herein.